For a while now, I haven’t put any real schedules on my writing. I had been in a bit of a slump for a year or so, and I was changing jobs, and…well, life. But the slump seems to have shifted away for now, and the new job came with new hours, which unexpectedly got me writing in the morning again. I feel as though I’ve landed in a good grove.
I still don’t want to squeeze myself too tightly into must-do goals, but there are a couple of things coming up that seemed worth planning around.
In December, I’m going to the Big Sur Writing Workshop for the first time. I’m really excited about getting to get critiques on some of the picture books I’ve been revising. If I had to set a goal for outcomes, it would be that the feedback and ideas I get there will help me get to the next stop on the writing path–querying agents for these manuscripts. I want to have some flexibility about what I decide to share in the critique groups, depending on how each session goes. I have one absolutely ready to share, two that I want to run through one more time, and a fourth that was a picture book, but that I have taken down to one or two bones and am building back up. I will have at least the first three ready by Big Sur, and I want to have the fourth at least to a draft I’m not embarrassed to put out there. Assuming no creeks rise, this all seems doable.
The second thing coming up is a vacation to Sedona. Of all the places we vacationed when I was growing up, this was one of my favorites, and my husband has never been. He loved Moab, and I feel like Sedona is Moab, but with a bit more up and down geology, cooler temps, and actual trees. We’re driving (Vanagon road trip!), so I’ll have a couple of days each direction to think about some project, talk out loud about it (lucky husband!), and jot down any ideas. Then, in Sedona, we’ll do our usual–split up for a few hours each day; my husband gets out on his bike, and I get into my writing.
I could save this for more revision, or for making big progress on the fourth picture book, but I think I want something looser, with more room for play. So I’ll be working on an idea for a chapter book. If you follow me on Facebook, you may know that I’ve been inspired by reading Debbi Michiko Florence’s Jasmine Toguchi books. One of the things I absolutely love about picture books is how the short form and the young audience create constraints for me to work within, and it seems like chapter books have their own set of “specs.” I have one idea that’s been tickling my brain a bit, so the Arizona trip is for that. I may play with an opening scene; I may take a stab at an outline; I may decide the idea is not workable and brainstorm a few others. I may find out that I am totally wrong about chapter books and that it is not a genre I want to get into. But I don’t think so.
It feels so good to be solidly back on the writing path, even if I still (and always!) don’t know where it’s going to lead. Writing steadily and seeing my manuscripts and my crafts get stronger, having the energy and courage to dig into something new…this is my happy place. Fall is always my favorite season and, this year, I think it’s definitely going to be a good one.